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Myths about eyesight pervade every aspect of our lives. As youths, we’re told carrots are the key to super-human night vision, but sitting too close to the T.V. will blind us. Around the age of 25, we exchange old myths for new ones. What is true and what is fiction when it comes to our eyes always tends to deserve more of our attention. If you are looking for the truth about Glaucoma, you’ll find the facts about five of the most common misconceptions.

Let’s be clear we know what Glaucoma is; glaucoma is an eye condition in which increased pressure in the eye damages the optic nerve, causing progressive, permanent vision loss. How common is glaucoma? Glaucoma is prevalent. Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss in the world.

Meaning more myths persist about its cause and treatment than other eye conditions. Here are five myths about glaucoma and the facts you need to know.

Myth #1: There is only one type of glaucoma

Truth: There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure. Open-angle glaucoma is more common, accounting for about 90 percent of all glaucoma cases. In open-angle glaucoma, the pressure in the eye increases slowly over time. In angle-closure glaucoma, the pressure in the eye rises suddenly and sharply. Left untreated, both types of glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss.

Myth #2: Glaucoma only affects one eye

Truth: Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but pressure often increases in one eye first. This raised pressure may damage the optic nerve, resulting in gradual vision changes.

Your peripheral (side) vision is often affected first, so the change in your vision may not be immediately apparent.

Your central (direct) vision will also begin to be affected with time.

Myth #3: Glaucoma only affects the elderly

Truth: While glaucoma is most common in people over age 60, it can affect anyone. Several other factors may put you at a higher risk of developing glaucoma, including a family history of glaucoma and being of African-American descent. Other risk factors include diabetes, myopia (short-sightedness), hypertension (high blood pressure), and ocular hypertension (raised eye pressure). If you have one or more risk factors, you should schedule an eye exam every two years.

Myth #4: Glaucoma has severe symptoms

Truth: Glaucoma has very few symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms occur, they may come and go or become steadily worse. You may notice hazy vision, eye pain, or rainbow-colored halos around bright lights. By the time you notice these symptoms, you may have already lost some vision. Early detection through regular eye exams is the key to protecting your vision.

Myth #5: Glaucoma is a curable condition

Truth: There is no cure for glaucoma; however, treatment can help control the condition. Glaucoma is typically treated with eye drops or oral pills that help control the pressure in your eye. If these treatments do not work for you, your eye doctor may recommend surgery.

If you have glaucoma or are at risk of developing the condition, it is important to seek eye care from the optometry experts like the optometrists at our Southwestern Eye Centers. Early detection and treatment of eye conditions like glaucoma can mean the difference between normal and lost vision.